So he built a working five-gauge steam railway in his back garden – 370m long, with 13,000 hand-screwed bolts, 28 tons of ballast, sidings, an engine shed, turntables and passing loops.
Oh, and two model steam engines and three electric locomotives.
Vernon built the engines out of “scraps” in his shed. He says: “I made a steam-driven Thomas the Tank Engine from a toilet cistern and the windscreen wiper motor from an old lorry. My pride and joy is a scaled-down copy of the royal train.”